Newcastle Courant/October 11, 1755
Arrived the Mails from France
Boston (New England), August 18
I cannot let slip this Opportunity of acquainting you of the Circumstances of Affairs in these Parts, as I suppose it affords much Discourse in Europe.
I scarce know how to begin to relate our most shameful Defeat on the Ohio, under General Braddock. The Account you have at Home, respecting the Numbers killed and wounded, must be uncertain, as we are not yet satisfied altogether in that Particular (but have added a List of the killed and wounded as near as we can guess).
We are informed, by Post which arrived two Days ago, that the Numbers which attacked General Braddock were 2000 Indians, and but a few French; this may be depended upon as certain. This Account was brought by one Stork, a Man taken by the Indians, being one of the Inhabitants of our Western Frontiers, and carried to Fort du Quesne, the principal Fort on the Ohio. He says, that when he left that Fort, the French were 3000 strong, besides Indians. After the Battle the Indians divided the Spoil, and brought a great many Scalps to Fort du Quesne, and then proposed marching towards Canada; but this Man made his Escape and got to Fort Cumberland, being about 75 Miles, and was almost starved when he got to the Fort. The Indians proposed carrying him to Canada.
As to the Particulars of the Attack, I have from the best Authority; and what I shall mention, I shall have a tender Regard to the Credit of my native country, and tread lightly on the Ashes of the Dead; but, at the same Time, would not deviate from the Truth.
General Braddock, with his Officers, has behaved well, and played the Man for their Country; but the Soldiers most scandalously. The General could not miss of being acquainted with the Nature of the Indians and French Bush-fighting, by Informations he received before he marched; but being a superior Field Officer, it is generally thought he would not take Advice from the Country People; but it has cost him his life and many more, besides the Loss of Artillery, and the disgrace accruing to the Nation.
He was (as everyone expected) attacked from the Woods by the Enemy, but could see Nobody to fire at; and so many of his People have fell a Sacrifice to his Obstinacy. He behaved with great Courage, having five Horses killed under him; and the Officers behaved equally well; but the Soldiers were struck with a Panick, and fled in the utmost Confusion; they were feared. At the first Fire, the Indians gave the War-whoop, which is accompanied with such hideous Yells, as I am confident were never heard in any European Campaigns. Major Washington was defeated in this Manner; and (being with General Braddock) he begged and prayed the General, when they were first attacked, to let him draw off about 300 in each Wing to scour the Woods, but he refused it, and obstinately persisted in the Form of a Field Battle, his Men standing Shoulder to Shoulder, the unhappy Consequence of which was what I have related. This is, and always will be the Consequence of Old England Officers and Soldiers being sent to America; they have neither Skill nor Courage for this Method of fighting, for the Indians will kill them as fast as Pigeons, and they stand no chance either offensive or defensive. It is judged that 300 New England Men would have routed this Party of Indians, which I seem to be very confident of myself. A few Days ago we had an Account from the country, about 150 Miles off, of 300 Indians attacking a Scouting Party of New England Men, being 80 in Number; the Indians fired first, and killed one Man; the New England Men took to the Woods and Swamps after them, and killed 40 of them, the Rest escaped. In the late Fight at Nova Scotia, the New England Men were commanded by Colonel Monckton, an Old England Officer. He wanted them to keep in Army Order; but when the Indians fired on them out of the Woods, they broke their Ranks and ran into the Woods a after them. The Colonel said, The Devil was in them, and asked what they meant by this Conduct, but they soon returned, and shewed him several Indians Heads and Scalps. This is our Country Fighting.
We want nothing but Money and a Liberty to act, and we will soon have all North America; and remember my Words, I do affirm that if they send over 20,000 Men from Britain, they will only fall a Sacrifice to the Enemy. We have now about 4000 New England Forces on their March to Crown-point (being about two Thirds of the Way between Boston and Canada) many of them Men of good Estates in the Country, who employ Men on their Farms at higher Wages than they themselves receive. We have about 2000 more with our Governor at Oswego, near Niagara, and 20,000 more in this Province, ready to start for Canada if Orders come from Home. In short, when we raise Men here by Beat of Drum, we have such Numbers offer that we are forced to turn many Home again (this I am an Eye-witness of), both on account of their Number and Youth; some Lads about 13, 15, and 15 Years old offer, who can shoot a bird flying with any Man in this Province. This is a right martial spirit, and seems to run through the whole of this Country People.
We have great Talk of another Expedition to the Ohio very quickly. I hope by this Time the State Officers in England begin to see the Consequence of North America; if the French get Matters here, depend upon it all the West Indies will fall into their Hands, then farewell to Britain itself.